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Christmas Services at St. Edward’s & Christmas Message From Bishop Scanlan – The Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

Please join The Reverend David Bateman for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services at St. Edward’s.  Our service schedule is as follows:

Christmas Eve

4:30 pm Family/Children’s Service with Holy Communion

Praise Band begins playing at 4:15 pm and nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

9:00 pm Festival Holy Eucharist with Choir

Nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

Christmas Day

10:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II

We look forward to sharing Christmas with you at St. Edward’s!

III Advent 2019

Dear Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,

I often speak and write about the Christian path as opening oneself to transformation. Transformation is the process by which we come to know, deeply, the love of God for us and all creation. We can put ourselves in the path to be transformed, but it is only the grace of God, in God’s good time, that affects our growing in holiness.

In a culture that prizes achievement, entrepreneurship, and “get up and go,” it feels counterintuitive to wait on God to fill us with grace. I think that God is moving and acting with grace all the time; we need to sharpen our focus to see God at work around us and in us.

Sometimes, God’s grace sneaks up on us, and we find ourselves awash in holiness as the Holy Spirit breaks in.  Last Sunday afternoon, I experienced such a moment: I was sitting in a cavernous Roman Catholic church in Baltimore- St. Cyprian- attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Like many in the audience, I knew the music well, having sung it several times in choirs through the years. I knew what to expect. I enjoyed the choir, the orchestra, the exceptional soloists, the ornate sculptures and frescos decorating the church, the strong beam of sunlight reaching through the stained glass, landing in a colorful puddle in my pew. Everything felt good and fine- just as I had imagined it would. What I was not prepared for was the sudden breaking in of the Holy Spirit, bringing sharp tears to my eyes as the bass soloist sang his recitative from 1 Corinthians 15:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

All at once, I recognized the power of God in my life, my absolute inability to push away or control such a deluge of love, the conviction that God’s dream for us is to be changed, and that this gift of being changed would make me- and all who have gone before- whole. It was certainty. It was mighty. It was about deep love, and it was for me. (It’s for you, too!)

It was grace.

I left, having had a good cry, filled with the glorious sounds of a time-tested musical masterpiece, and ever more certain of God’s love and power in my life. Much more than I’d bargained for with the price of my ticket.

God loves with grace in and through our lives all the time. Grace- and our faith that God will turn up- is what changes us; we are Shaped by Faith.

We are about to celebrate one of the moments in which God gave us a gift for all time- the gift of our Savior, Jesus. Jesus came as a small baby but filled with the grace of God- grace to teach, shape, and save us.

My Christmas prayer for each of you is that you will experience God’s love this season- in little ways that will continue to work on you, in you, to shape you in faithfulness, as God’s beloved.

A holy Christmas to you all as we welcome the babe Jesus, God’s gift of love for us.


The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan

XI Bishop

Download Bishop Scanlan letter here.

Christmas Services at St. Edward’s & Presiding Bishop Curry Christmas Message 2019

Please join The Reverend David Bateman for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services at St. Edward’s.  Our service schedule is as follows:

Christmas Eve

4:30 pm Family/Children’s Service with Holy Communion

Praise Band begins playing at 4:15 pm and nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

9:00 pm Festival Holy Eucharist with Choir

Nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

Christmas Day

10:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II

We look forward to sharing Christmas with you at St. Edward’s!

Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message 2019

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2019.

The video of the Presiding Bishop’s message is here

The text of the Presiding Bishop’s message follows:

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, sometimes referred to as the prologue to the Gospel, sometimes spoken of as the whole Gospel in miniature the Gospel writer says this. As he reflects on the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus. As he reflects on Christmas. He says, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I don’t think it’s an accident that long ago, followers of Jesus began to commemorate his coming into the world when the world seemed to be at its darkest.

It’s probably not an accident that we observe Christmas soon after December 21, the winter solstice. The winter solstice being in the Northern Hemisphere the darkest time of the year.

Undoubtedly, these ancient Christians who began to celebrate the coming of God into the world, they knew very well that this Jesus, his teachings, his message, his spirit, his example, his life points us to the way of life itself, a way of life, where we take care of each other. A way of life, where we care for God’s world. A way of life, where we are in a loving relationship with our God, and with each other as children of the one God, who has created us all.

They also knew John’s Gospel and John’s Christmas story. Now there are no angels in John’s Christmas story. There are no wise men coming from afar. There’s no baby lying in a manger. There’s no angel choir singing Gloria in excelsis Deo in the highest of the heavens. There are no shepherds tending their flocks by night. Matthew and Luke tell those stories. In John, it is the poetry of new possibility, born of the reality of God when God breaks into the world.

It’s not an accident that long ago, followers of Jesus began to commemorate his birth, his coming into the world. When the world seemed darkest. When hope seemed to be dashed on the altar of reality. It is not an accident that we too, commemorate his coming, when things do not always look right in this world.

But there is a God. And there is Jesus. And even in the darkest night. That light once shined and will shine still.  His way of love is the way of life. It is the light of the world. And the light of that love shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome it.

God love you. God bless you and may you have a Merry Christmas and may this world be blessed. Amen.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church offers two digital Christmas Eve programs

Perhaps your loved one or family member are home bound at Christmas but would like to experience a Christmas Eve service with The Episcopal Church.  Below are links to two offerings presented via The Episcopal Church website on December 24th.

[December 17, 2019] The Episcopal Church is offering two, digital Christmas Eve programs on December 24. Available on both the Episcopal Church website and the Episcopal Church Facebook page, these programs makes Christmas Eve worship accessible to those not attending a service or program at a local church.

Both services will be available beginning on Christmas eve: St. Thomas’ at 4:00 pm and St. John the Baptist’s at 12:00 pm as well as at 6:00 pm (all times EST) and then available on demand.

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York, New York

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is one of the pivotal and most popular choral services of the year. For many, it marks the beginning of Christmas. The service follows a format designed by Edward White Benson, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury, in which nine lessons are interspersed among 12 carols, motets and hymns. The lessons – which cover the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus – will be read by nine representatives of the Saint Thomas parish: a chorister, a member of the Sunday School, a gentleman of the choir, the director of music, the headmaster of the choir school, a member of the congregation, a warden of the parish, a priest of the parish, and finally the rector.

Saint Thomas is the only Episcopal church in the United States that operates a boarding school for its choristers. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Saint Thomas Choir School. The Choir of Saint Thomas is steeped in the Anglican choral tradition, offering at least five sung services a week, including weekday Choral Evensongs.

Christmas Eve liturgy

St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Seattle, Washington

This is a traditional Christmas Eve liturgy with Holy Eucharist and congregational singing of carols, including Silent Night by candlelight towards the end of the service. In an effort to intentionally create more space for silence and listening in the liturgy and worship, following the sermon the congregation will observe a full three minutes of silence and listening indicated by the pealing of bells. The liturgy will be conducted in the expansive language version of the Holy Eucharist Rite Two. This updated version of the liturgical text was approved for trial use at the Episcopal Church’s 2018 General Convention.

Click on link below and follow their calendar of events to December 24th.

The Episcopal Church offers two, digital Christmas Eve programs

December 1st – Choral Evensong at St. Edward’s featuring The Lancaster Chamber Singers

A service of choral evensong will be held at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, December 1st, at 4 PM.  This event is free, but an offering will be received.

The service, which takes place on the First Sunday of Advent, with The Reverend David Bateman serving as Cantor and Officiant, will feature The Lancaster Chamber Singers.

 The Lancaster Chamber Singers, directed by Jay W. Risser, has played a major role in quality performances of choral masterpieces in central Pennsylvania since the ensemble’s founding in 1978.  From its inception, the mission of the Lancaster Chamber Singers has been to provide a rich choral opportunity for experienced voices in the greater Lancaster area and to bring to life for both audience and performer the great choral heritage of our culture.  The select group consists of 35 to 40 auditioned vocalists from varied walks of life from central Pennsylvania.

Performing primarily in Lancaster County and its immediate surroundings, the Lancaster Chamber Singers has also appeared in numerous invitation-only settings such as the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and Longwood Gardens.  In addition to performing a capella, the singers perform with Lancaster area instrumentalists and chamber ensembles.

Performances of note include Mozart’s Requiem with former Metropolitan Opera bass/baritone John Darrenkamp and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with Met baritone Mark Oswald.  LCS premiered Voices of Psalms, a unique work based on an Amish hymn, by Lancaster County composer Pomice Stoltzfus.  The ensemble also presented the Pennsylvania premiere of James Bassi’s Harpsonnets, based on the works of Shakespeare and featuring New York City harpist Ray Pool.   Several benefit concerts for victims of natural disasters have been sponsored and performed by the Lancaster Chamber Singers.  LCS was invited to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown with a concert at Bruton Parish Church, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  In the spring of 2018, the Lancaster Chamber Singers marked its 40th anniversary with a gala performance of Mozart’s Mass in C Major (Coronation Mass) with full orchestra.

The December program is the fourth event in The Rev. Canon Stephen C. Casey Cultural Event Series at St. Edward’s for 2019, showcasing the church’s fellowship outreach.

Embrace Open House at St. Edward’s

As we follow in the steps of “What We Believe” as Episcopalians, St. Edward’s is taking the opportunity to invite people who may have abandoned their faith because of prejudice they may have faced in other congregations, and to offer a local “safe space” for people of any identity and/or orientation by opening our doors to welcome and affirm the LGBTQ community members. 

On Sunday, July 21st we will be part of the Pride Week Open Houses in partnership with Embrace, a local organization supporting Lancaster’s LGBTQ people of faith.  We will be joining many other churches in the Lancaster County faith community in the hopes that we can connect members of the LGBTQ community with open and affirming worship and fellowship, especially at St. Edward’s.

As is highlighted on our The Episcopal Church website:

We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the United States, we are descendants of and partners with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church, and are part of the third largest group of Christians in the world.

We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.

We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God, and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation.

We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.

On June 12, 2019, during Pride Month, our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry offered his statement that honors LGBTQ Episcopalians, which you can read by clicking this link below or visiting the St. Edward’s website on the “What We Believe” page.

Presiding Bishop’s Pride Month statement honors LGBTQ Episcopalians

We hope you will join us on July 21st at your worship service of choice – 8 AM or 10:15 AM and coffee/fellowship hours, and show our brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community what a welcoming and faith-affirming parish St. Edward’s is and will always be.

Services on Sunday, January 20th

St. Edward’s will be having 2 services Sunday, January 20th: 8 AM – Rite I; 10:15 AM – Rite II. We welcome our Interim Rector, The Reverend David Bateman. Please join us! We understand there is the prediction of inclement weather, but we have alerted our snowplow contractor and will have the church well prepared for your arrival! Please check WGAL online for any updates should the weather change dramatically. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Christmas Services at St. Edward’s

Come celebrate with us at St. Edward’s! Below is a listing of our Christmas Services.

Christmas Eve Services

4:15 PM – Prelude Music and Family Service of Holy Communion

8:40 PM – Prelude Music and Festival Holy Eucharist with Choir

**Nursery is available at both Christmas Eve services. Ages up to age 4.

Christmas Day Service

10:00 AM – Christmas Day Service Rite II